Above is my original PLE. I made at the start of my Masters in Digital Technologies for Language Teaching just over two years ago. It would seem that my world at that time was divided simply in two, where I gained and shared knowledge through and with people and computers. It looks like I had a lot of connections back then and used to speak to a lot of people on a regular basis. That was, until, I actually got started on my Masters. And it’s fair to say, since that time, all of that interaction has dried up!
Back then, I used to read lots of different blogs, and was a regular attendee of Cambridge English Teacher Webinars. I also did a lot of small, free online courses. Learn, learn, learn, was the theme. I loved it! However, there was a downside. What to do with this mass accumulation of knowledge? Where was my outlet? I found that my workplace did not provide fertile land for experimentation. I was learning. Getting ideas. Formulating hypothesis for success, but unable to really test them out. So the simple conclusion I came to was to focus on my own personal projects after graduation: one-to-one tutoring, course design & materials design and take a break from working for an employer.
Once I had that idea in my mind, at the beginning of year 2 (my Masters course is 2 years part-time) things start to happen very quickly. I participated in International House’s Online Teacher Training Online Tutoring course, and later was invited to co-organise and co-run an online professional development for language teachers, called Teachers as Designers. At the same time I started to work with a brand new China-based wechat start-up yoli, an online language platform that connects learners of English with teachers through mobile phones! First on their curriculum, and later, on the student learning experience.
The result? Well the result is that I still have not finished my final Masters project! And I am not working on my own projects per se, as I strongly indicated I had wanted to do. However, the decision to really funnel my knowledge and expertise into some practical is really paying off. I would say that now my PLE is more streamlined. Now I put what I have learnt and am learning to immediate effect. And this is entirely more satisfying than my previous situation.
To summarise then: my output is based on the principles and knowledge that I acquire from both human and technological resources in my PLE, especially from the Masters course. With my current work project, wehchat start-up yoli has me throwing all I know into the mix to design the ultimate online learning experience for their wechat student groups. Similarly, applying what I learned during the Online Tutoring course has led to the creation of the online professional development course Teachers As Designers. Clearly, a sense of direction and purpose has emerged. I hope this recycling of knowledge will see me through my new Masters project and beyond.